Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP) Virginia Wing will hold a search and rescue exercise across Virginia on Saturday. For the northern Virginia region, the incident command post will be hosted at the Winchester Regional Airport.

CAP members from Leesburg, Herndon, Manassas, Culpeper, Burke, Winchester, and other areas will gather in Winchester for training. CAP will launch aircraft missions from Winchester, Leesburg, and Manassas. CAP will also conduct ground-based training at Bull Run Regional Park. Training will focus on air-to-ground communications, search patterns (ground and air), aerial photography, command and control, and more, for both adults and cadets (ages 12 and older).

Virginia Wing has 12 aircraft, 11 Cessnas and a Gippsland Airvan aircraft in total. Last month, the wing responded to assist with locating an overdue aircraft in southern Virginia. Last winter, the wing flew aerial surveys of the roads between Richmond and Quantico at the request of the state Department of Emergency Management and Department of Transportation after the region’s heaviest recorded snowfall in several years.

The wing has also provided imagery of key areas before and after hurricane and tropical storm activity, including Hurricane Isaias in 2020. The wing provides search and rescue assistance as well for missing persons, having partnered with Maryland CAP members to search for canoeists.

The Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, with 22 squadrons spread throughout the commonwealth has approximately 1,800 members, 12 light aircraft, and 29 multi-purpose vehicles. These assets are available to federal, state and local governments, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies to perform search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and counter-drug missions.

Founded in 1941 and established as the official civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force seven years later, Civil Air Patrol is chartered by Congress as a nonprofit organization for the purposes of youth development, aerospace education, and to promote general aviation. In an auxiliary role as a Total Force partner of the Air Force, CAP operates the world’s largest fleet of single-engine aircraft for search and rescue, disaster relief, training, and education. Civil Air Patrol is dedicated to serving America’s communities, saving lives, and shaping futures.

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